As always, thank you for reading and sharing my blog! I am an independent poet, author, and singer/songwriter and I have my own ebay business to keep me as flexible as possible. But, writing takes time and if you appreciate what I do, if you have been moved or made to think by my writing, OR have just enjoyed something on my blog, please throw a buck or two in my tip jar! Your kind contribution may buy me a cup of coffee out at my next writing session. Click my easy paypal “tip jar” link that follows and THANKS! -Luke
I’ll keep this one short and hope you read the link to my other blog. Gay marriage is now legal in ALL states and has been recognized as Constitutional by the Supreme Court. It has been a long, hard road for LGBT couples and it is about damn time.
Many people, gay, straight, and everything in between, are overjoyed. Many others are not. They range in their reactions from being mildly bothered to foaming at the mouth, calling down fire and brimstone upon the ungodly.
I primarily want to address the angry folks. Years ago, I was a homophobe due to my former religious conviction. Last year, I wrote an article about my transition from being against the LGBT community to being a strong supporter and advocate. I ask that you take several minutes to read my story, especially if you don’t like me already. Please click the link below.
To those who are on the side of marriage equality, but know others who are not or are anti-gay, I ask you to please share my story with your family and/or friends who are still on the “other side” of this issue. (I, for example, used to be for the right for gays to marry, yet believed homosexuality to be a “sin”) We are all in this thing called “life” together and are all living this American Experience. Let’s do what we can to encourage togetherness and change rather than division.
Earlier today, I saw this video pop up in my Facebook feed. As I started to watch it, I asked myself, “Why does the lady holding the sign look SO familiar?” When the answer hit me, I yelled to my wife, “HEY! The lady who got hit with the slushie is the hateful lady I debated with at that huge garage sale event!” Yet, I was not happy that she had been doused in a frosty, frozen, convenience store beverage.
Here is the back story… A few months ago the, “Greater Indianapolis Garage Sale,” was taking place at the State Fair Grounds. Since I am a picker and ebay seller, I decided to head up one afternoon with my family to see what we could find. I had not more than walked into the large room with hundreds of booths before I saw a table in the middle of the room surrounded by three huge signs decrying gay marriage, threatening Hell to sinners, and explaining why Monster energy drinks were of the Devil. I remember thinking to myself, “Well, isn’t that special?” It was going to be a while before we got to that booth, but I committed to myself to suss out and confront this person’s ideology.
When we got to the both, the woman running it was holding up an empty can of Monster (I hope she did not buy it, rather found it so she did not have to put money in the Antichrist’s pocket) while pontificating to the person in front of her about why the Monster logo was really “666.” Spooky stuff.
So, I waited a few moments for her to finish and then started asking her questions. She, as very fundamentalist religious people go, was not really interested in my questions or dialogue, rather only the opportunity to “rebuke” me for something. I switched gears from dialogue to debate mode and off we went. Over the next 45+ minutes we drew quite a crowd as well as attention from people running booths nearby. I’ll admit, she had me on angst and volume. I relied on the Socratic Method and asking her to demonstrate the reliability of her epistemological base in order to change my mind toward her position. I sensed a great deal of internal trepidation in her anytime I tried to test her ideology with reason and logic. Her main ammunition was vitriolic charges about my supposed character and assertions that I would be tortured in an imaginary place for eternity after I died. The other unfortunate thing for her was, my knowledge of the Bible itself was superior to hers. So, I not only had to discuss with her on one level about ideology in general, but I also spent time correcting her on her own assertions based on the Bible. It was a bit tiring I must admit.
I knew there was only the slightest chance that I would get through to such a person on any level. Yet, it was important for me to try. The greatest encouragement was, two of my kids, my wife, and a crowd of people were listening to our conversation. They saw and heard, not only what we communicated, but how. I tested her ideas, she insulted me. I implored her to rise above her archaic dogma, she condemned me to hell fire. I did not go ad hominem, she arrogantly called me names. She insulted me to my kids, I told them she was a scared person and a bully. As we eventually concluded our parley at an obvious impasse and I walked off, several other people thanked me for trying to get through to her and for how I went about it. At the risk of hubris, I was actually very proud afterward of how I had handled myself.
Then today, when I saw the video of her, Christine Weick, being slushie assaulted, it really bummed me out. Here is why:
1. It is her right to stand on a public corner and spew her nonsense if she wants to. She did not deserve to be treated in the way that the other pedestrian treated her. The other woman should have presented her own case, called Christine out on her hatefulness, explained the error of it, and then left. The second woman had no right to dump a drink on Christine and she made an ass of herself.
2. Christine and many similar people who see the video will generalize the other woman’s behavior as, “how liberals are,” and it will only serve to justify their own behavior.
3. The only thing that any other passerby could have gotten from the whole exchange was something negative. There was nothing to use as a positive, teachable example from either person in the situation.
4. Last and most important… You cannot fight vitriol and hate with vitriol and hate.
Due to the road noise adjacent to the two women, I could not make out everything that was being said. Ultimately, you had two hateful people, on different sides of one particular issue, threatening each other that the God that they both happen to have on their own side would be tossing the other into Hell. I was emotionally sickened by each of them and their words toward one another.
So, if we cannot glean a lesson from positive example, we can learn one from the negative…
We MUST hold ourselves to a higher standard my fellow humans. We must refrain from personal attacks when debating with even the most hateful person. Many times, like schoolyard bullies, dogmatic bullies are actually very weak, scared, and trying to compensate for that. Even if we are not able to break through to such people, our behavior and tact can be a positive example for others. Only that will help all of humanity to grow and be freed from the chains of credulity, hatred, condemnation, and a lack of empathy toward others. It is of paramount importance that we stand up to such hateful people. BUT… we must do it the right way. Do not become them in an attempt to beat them. As my mom always told me, “Be careful that you do not become what you hate.”
UPDATE! 11/9/2014- Here is a video of Weick that I randomly saw pop up on the front page of youtube today:
The Chronicles of Simon the Lover
Chapter Two: The Heart of Simon
In spite of his lack of human friends
Simon was not completely forsaken
For he found the companionship offered by books
To be quite agreeable
His best pals were the Scriptures, Moby Dick
And a collection of love poems
Penned by the great writers of verse
Oh, and by the way
Simon was in love
Her name was Muriel
She was an angel in his eyes
Every time he saw her in town
His heart felt as though it was being crushed
By the mighty hand of God
But he would only look quickly
For he was the town’s peculiar one
And though he could bear the judgmental stares
Of everyone that passed him by
To risk catching such a glance from Muriel
Would be as death to him
So rather than chance such a fate
He withheld his eyes from ever meeting hers
Several years it had been
That he had lived in this sad state
A man whose chest burned with the heat
Of true love’s passion
Yet feeling imprisoned
Unable to express his deepest emotions
To the object of his desire
The sweet Muriel
But one day
-Thank you for reading this story! If you would like to have and read the entire poetry book that the story is from, please click either of the links below. It is available on Kindle and Nook. If you would like a print copy, please message me directly.
*This is chapter two of twelve. The following chapters will continue to be published daily until the entire story is online. Please subscribe to this blog for notifications.
-Copyright 2005 By: Luke Austin Daugherty
-This work may not be reproduced in any form, digital, audio, or print, in part or in whole without the express, written consent of the author. It was originally published in a collection of original poetry called, “Love with Vengeance.”